The world of design is no stranger to “niche” projects, but illustrator Jane Mount has staked out subject matter that is as obscure as it is inspiring. In 2007 she began painting “portraits of people through the spines of their favorite books” – the books that somehow changed or influenced each person’s life.
Recently she expanded the idea into a book edited by Thessaly La Force, “My Ideal Bookshelf,” in which she painted the spines of books that mean the most to an eclectic group of 100 creatives across many disciplines, including filmmaker Judd Apatow, musician Patti Smith, humorist David Sedaris, and Jennifer Egan, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning novel “A Visit from the Goon Squad.”
Each painting is accompanied by commentary from the subject about why they chose the books they did, and why they continue to find them inspirational.
Meanwhile, Mount still continues to custom paint book spines with gouache on Fabriano hot press smooth watercolor paper in 8” x 10” and 11” x 14” sizes. Prices range from $80 for a single framed spine to $460 for up to 20 books. While she touts them as perfect gifts for the loved ones in your life, she also maintains that they’re “perfect for yourself, for recording who you were at a certain time in your life. Like getting a tattoo but less painful.”